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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Malkin Enjoys Scoring Debut in NHL

APPenguins center Malkin, right, scoring on his NHL debut against Devils goalkeeper Martin Brodeur in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. The Penguins lost 2-1.
PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins rookie Evgeni Malkin scored in his much-anticipated NHL debut, and was everything he was supposed to be despite missing nearly one month of play with a dislocated left shoulder.

Though Pittsburgh lost to the New Jersey Devils 2-1, the Russian center, 20, made exceptional passes, used his long reach to grab pucks and set up scoring chances.

He also showed he could create scoring of his own by somehow finding a puck that Devils goalie Martin Brodeur thought he had controlled and pushed it into the net at 18:38 of the second period, tying it at 1-1.

"I was worried, it's the first game I'm playing," Malkin said, speaking through interpreter George Birman. "In the future, I think it is going to be easier. I had no problems with the shoulder and, hopefully, that's how I'm going to feel."

Malkin also displayed a strong shot, causing a brief delay in the third period when his slapshot broke a pane of glass behind the net.

His NHL debut was delayed for two weeks by a dislocated shoulder that occurred in his first preseason game.

Adding Malkin to a lineup that already includes Sidney Crosby, who became the youngest player in NHL history to score 100 points at age 18 last season, wasn't enough to prop up a Penguins offense that has been surprisingly deficient with 12 goals in five games and two in their last three home games, all losses.

Coach Michel Therrien unexpectedly played Malkin and Crosby on the same line at times in their first regulation game together, beginning with the opening shift.

"I didn't expect that, and it was nice for us to start what I hope is the first of many shifts together," Crosby said. "It was good for him to get the first goal, there was a lot of buildup for this and, hopefully, he'll get a lot more."

Malkin, the No. 2 pick in the 2005 draft to last year's rookie of the year, Alexander Ovechkin of Washington, is one of the NHL's most awaited young players in years. He accomplished what Penguins owner and Hall-of- Famer Mario Lemieux achieved in his first NHL game in 1984 by scoring in his first game.

"And he's only going to get better and better," Therrien said.

The Penguins saluted Malkin on the scoreboard minutes before the game started, showing highlights of his international career with Russia.